Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Means...Beautiful Flowers!

Summer is almost week is "back to school" week in Minnesota.  But before summer ends, I have some summer photos to share with you.  I mentioned last month that I wanted to visit the summer flower show at the Como Park Conservatory.  Well, I finally did, and it was gorgeous.  Here are a few photos from my visit...  

This is the sight that greets visitors as they approach the Conservatory.  The glass building in the background is the rainforest room of the Como Zoo.  It provides an interesting backdrop to the colorful flower garden in the foreground, don't you agree?

Water gardens, filled with ornamental plants, surround the zoo buildings and the Conservatory.  I found this Mosaic Plant fascinating. 

Inside the Conservatory, the Sunken Gardens were filled with summer flowers.  This year, Como's gardeners featured plants from Impressionist paintings.  The sunflowers, of course, are an homage to van Gogh.

Children always love the North Garden in the Conservatory, because it includes fish ponds.  I love watching the fish, too, but this time I was most fascinated by this stunning pop of red foliage, glowing amongst all the greenery.

Como has five seasonal flower shows each year--spring, summer, fall, winter holiday, and winter.  I've already blogged about the spring flower show, and now I've covered the summer one.  I missed the winter show, which ran from mid-January to mid-March...but who knows, with any luck I'll be able to attend the last two shows of 2012.  If I do, I'll be sure to share my photos with you.  I love being able to give my readers a glimpse of Minnesota's beauty.  TFL!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Means...Baby Showers!

March and April are supposed to be the big months for birthdays...but August has got be right up there, too.  I  know I always send a lot of birthday cards during this month.

One of the most exciting "birthdays" is an actual birth day.  I love picking out baby gifts.  And it's fun to make cards for baby showers, too.  In fact, it's the perfect excuse to indulge in an all-out cute crafting style.

Supplies: cardstock by Archivers, papers by Bo Bunny, pen by Zig.

I think that outer space designs are particularly appropriate for babies.  I must admit that I bought the above Zutano outfit (striped pants & space patterned shirt) for my friend's baby boy because I knew it would coordinate so well with these Bo Bunny "Blast Off!" papers.  Okay, that wasn't the only reason why I bought the outfit.  I also knew that my friend and her husband would like this outfit, as they are sci fi fans...and I hoped that the bright colors would even appeal to the baby himself.  But yes, the fact that the outfit matched the papers did influence me a little bit.  :)

This card came together quickly, thanks to the 6x6" "Blast Off!" paper pad.  Of course, I had to let the adorable astronaut monkey take center stage.  :)  Here's to the beginning of some great adventures--the adventure of a new baby's life, and the adventure of my friends' entry into parenthood!  TFL.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer Means...Excursions & Outings!

Summer is such a great time to explore nearby destinations.  Each summer I make sure to take my family to museums, parks, zoos, beaches, etc.  Here is a page called "Get in Gear," which is about a summer museum trip.  With this layout, I had fun mixing some older supplies (like the geometric Sassafrass background paper) with some newer supplies (like the green crosshatched paper, which is from Echo Park's Everyday Eclectic line).

Supplies: background paper by Sassafrass; gear paper by Creative Imaginations; all other paper by Echo Park; border stickers by Doodlebug Design; both styles of alphabet stickers by Bella Blvd; ink by Clearsnap; journaling line template by Creative Memories; pen by Zig.

The journaling on this layout says: "We had so much fun at Tech Fest back in February that we made sure to visit The Works again this summer.  Total blast!!!"  

The Works is a hands-on museum of science and technology.  It's in Bloomington (the largest suburb of Minneapolis-Saint Paul), the same city where the airport and Mall of America are located.  If, by any chance, you're going to be in Bloomington next month for Scrap Fest, and if, by any chance, you'll have your kids with you, I highly recommend a trip to the Works.  Kids love this place.  Unlike other museums, where visitors are not allowed to touch the exhibits, kids are actually supposed to touch and play with all the exhibits at the works.  Kids can build and race toy cars to learn about physics, create gigantic block towers to learn about construction techniques, play with gel sheets and shadow puppets to learn about how light works, and more!

I had the idea to cut 12-inch border stickers into strips, and then to use those strips like bits of washi tape on the edges of my photos.  I'm not sure whether the strips do, in fact, resemble washi tape...but they turned out cute nonetheless, so I still consider the experiment a success.  :)  I've heard that it's hard to use up a whole roll of washi tape, so I'm continuing to explore other washi alternatives, making use of items already in my stash.  

Have you been on many excursions and outings this summer?  Summer is winding down here, so my family is trying to squeeze in our last few daytrips, before school starts again.

I hope that you have been enjoying my "Summer is..." series of posts this month.  There are only two more, and I'll post them next week.  But if you need a larger dose of summer project ideas, be sure to check out the August issue of Scrap n' Art magazine.  The entire issue is dedicated to the theme of "summer."  I have a layout and an altered project in the issue, and there are tons more projects to check out as are sure to find something that piques your interest.  Happy scrapping!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Means...Sunshine & Sun Hats! (OUAS)

My blog is full of wild & crazy, brightly colored layouts at the moment.  I think it's time for something a bit different, simply for the sake of variety.  So today I'm sharing a layout with softer, gentler colors.

Supplies: all papers by My Mind's Eye (Follow Your Heart collection); ink by Tsukineko; large alphanumeric stickers by October Afternoon; small alphabet stickers by Bella Blvd; pearlescent paint by Ranger; brown pencil by Faber-Castell; pen by Sakura.

I created this layout using the sketch below.  This single-photo sketch was the perfect vehicle for showcasing one special vacation photo.  Unlike my other vacation photos, this snapshot was not of the landscapes and sights that I saw on my trip.  Instead, it's a glimpse of a sweet family moment.  Creating this layout allowed me to tell the story behind the photo.  The journaling says: "A. and I both forgot to bring sun hats on vacation.  The stores in the small town we were in did not have much selection.  So, we ended up getting matching hats.  We had fun being 'hat twins'.  Matching hats, matching hearts!  Pine River, Minnesota, summer 2011."


This sketch is for the current challenge at Once Upon a...Sketch.  The topic this month is seasons, and you can focus on any of the four seasons.  Naturally, I chose to focus on summer, since all of my blog posts this month are summer-themed.  And what could be more summery than a vacation page?  :)

On this layout, I challenged myself to use up the leftover bits and pieces from my Follow Your Heart (MME) mini pad.  I used these pint-sized patterned papers to make my own embellishments.  Above, you see some little pinwheels that I created.

I fussy cut around some hexagons, then cut the hexagons in half to form the banners that you see pictured above.

Using some paper strips and two more hexagons, I fashioned a fancy flower.

In order to draw the eye to my title block, I placed two strips of diagonal-striped paper together to form chevrons.  The chevrons are like an arrow, pointing downward to the woodgrain number two.

It was fun making my own coordinating embellishments with the mini pad.  An added benefit is that I've reduced my scrap pile a bit as well.

If you would like to play along with Once Upon a...Sketch, the challenge runs through the end of the month.  Happy crafting!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Means...Transition and Change!

I don't know whether it's the same in other places, but where I live summer is always a time for changes.  Minnesotans rush to get big projects done during this one snow-free season.  If people are going to move to a new home, it often happens in the summer.  Construction and renovation projects also happen in the summer.  

Sometimes changes can be serious, but other times they are more light-hearted.  The layout below, entitled "Bye-Bye, Fry Guy," highlights an example of the latter type of change.  In this case, a fast food restaurant in my old neighborhood converted from an outdoor playland with metal play equipment, to an indoor playland with new, plastic play equipment.  Scott and I did not have children at that time, so we were unfamiliar with this playland...but we soon made the acquaintance of a certain character from the old playland, who was being discarded.

Supplies: lacy and scalloped patterned papers by October Afternoon; all other patterned papers by Bella Blvd; rub-ons and button by October Afternoon; yellow alphabet stickers by Bella Blvd; all other stickers by Crate; faux brads by Craftworks Cards; thread by DMC; pen by Zig.

In keeping with the mirthful, informal theme of the layout, I wrote my journaling in the "white space" of one of my photos.

The journaling reads: "Our first apartment was next to a McDonalds.  When its playland was renovated, some teenagers from our building "liberated" this old Fry Guy.  He lived in our parking lot for awhile.  Seeing him always made me smile!"  :)

Aside from the background paper, all the papers that I used on this layout are scraps left over from other projects.  It's always nice to reduce the scrap pile a bit.  I trimmed fringe along the edge of one striped scrap of paper, then curled the fringe under, creating a dimensional border beneath one of my photos.  I think the fringe looks a bit like a Fry Guy's shaggy fur.  :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog today to check out my goofy Fry Guy layout.  I hope that it brought a smile to your face. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summer Means...School is Out!

Supplies: patterned paper and stickers all by Echo Park; pen by Zig.

It feels a little funny to be talking about the last day of school, when back-to-school time is just around the corner.  :)  But I'm going to do it anyway, because I'm really excited to share the above layout with you.  It's called "Last Day of School / First Day of Summer," and the journaling says: "So much can change in a very short time."  The photo on the left side shows my son on the morning of the last day of school.  He's looking a little shy and has a tiny smile on his face.  The photo on the right side of the page shows my son on the evening of the last day of school.  He has just played his first soccer game of the summer, he's wearing his team uniform, he's playing on the playground near the soccer field, and he has a HUGE smile on his face.  Indeed, so much changed over the course of just one special day.

When I created this layout, I set myself two challenges.  First, I challenged myself to find a new approach to the geometric craze.  Second, I challenged myself to use up some stickers and paper from some older Echo Park lines (mostly Country Drive and Springtime, plus a few bits from other collections).  

I think I succeeded on both counts.  As far as the geometric craze goes, I rejected the idea of using trianges, diamonds, or hexagons (the most popular shapes at the moment), and instead used trapezoids (or "trapeziums," if you're a Britglish speaker).  One way I used trapezoids was to form a border with them, as you see in the photo above.

The other way I used trapezoids was to form hexagon-shaped embellishments, as the photo above shows.  Okay, so I actually did use hexagons, even though I intended to avoid them.  But I still put my own spin on them.  :)

I wanted to give the page a childish, playful feel, so I added some primitive-style doodling and used a lot of colorful papers and stickers.  Color plays a symbolic role here.  The cooler, pastel colors add a calm feel to the "last day of school" side of the page, while the hotter, bright colors add excitement to the "first day of summer" side of the page.

I carried the color scheme over into my title work.  I call this mixing and matching of alphabet stickers "infinite alphabets," but the latest issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine called it "ransom note style."  I think I'm going to stick with my own term, since I've already been using it for awhile now.

I also succeeded in my second personal challenge, that of using up a lot of older Echo Park supplies.  To reward myself for this accomplishment, I treated myself to some new Echo Park supplies from the Everyday Eclectic line.  I've already created a couple layouts with Everyday Eclectic, and I'll share them with you in September (since my August blog posts are already all pre-planned).  Until then, I hope you're enjoying what's left of August.  Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Means...Ice Cream!

Supplies: paper, stickers, rub-ons, & die cuts all by October Afternoon; rhinestones by Petaloo; pen by Zig, ink by Stewart Superior.

Today I get to share with you a layout which was published last month in Scrap Street e-zine.  This layout is so typical of my style at the moment.  It's bright and colorful, it has handwritten journaling, and it has a mix of alphabet stickers.  My husband and son appear in the photograph on the layout, and the title tells how I feel about them: "Ice Cream Soda with a Cherry on Top, You're the Guys I Like a Lot!"  As the journaling explains, this is "my own version of the old jump-rope rhyme."  :)

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


If I could save summer in a jar...

Happy first day of August!  It's the last month of summer.  Despite all my complaining about how hot this summer has been, I'll still be sad when it's over.  Part of me wishes I could bottle up the warmth and joy of summer, so that I could hang onto it forever.  That's not possible, of course, but I still intend to savor what's left of the summer.  Therefore, I'll be focusing on summery projects in all my blog posts this month.

Supplies: all stickers by Simple Stories; airmail paper by Bo Bunny; all other paper by October Afternoon; ink by Tsukineko; pen by Zig.

My favorite summery product line is currently Summer Fresh by Simple Stories.  I know I'm not alone in adoring this collection.  It's so versatile!  I've seen it used by CAS scrappers and shabby chic scrappers alike!  I've used Summer Fresh shape and phrase stickers on "Farm Summer," the layout pictured above.  (The alphabet stickers on this layout are also by Simple Stories, but they are from a different collection, which is called Baby Steps.)

My "Farm Summer" layout houses two photos of my husband and his brother.  These are old photos, from when the boys were growing up on their family farm in Montana.  In the top photo, they're having a little picnic near one of the farm outbuildings, and in the bottom photo they're playing with red wagons and wearing John Deere tractor tee shirts.  The journaling reads: "Just some random pix of Scott and his brother playing.  There were no other kids nearby, so they played together all the time."  Once again, I marvel at how different my husband's childhood and my own childhood were.  I grew up in a suburban neighborhood, and there were kids my age in nearly every house on the street.  I'm glad that Scott's mom gave me these old photos--they are a priceless glimpse into his childhood.  I'll be adding this layout to the album I'm making about Scott's childhood.  In fact, I've made this layout on the back of the "Harvest Time" layout that I posted back in March.

Now, speaking of fun product collections, I'm curious to know what your favorite collections from CHA Summer 2012 were.  If I were to pick my top five favorites, they would be:
  1. Persnickety by Lily Bee Design--a yummy combination of citrus and berry colors.
  2. Autumn Spice by Lily Bee Design--they had me at woodgrain journaling cards!
  3. Midway by October Afternoon--to me, this collection epitomizes October Afternoon's signature blend of trendiness and cuteness.
  4. Grandma's Lima Bean Soup by Jillibean Soup--bright colors plus vintage motifs equals one happy Denise.
  5. Everyday Eclectic by Echo Park Paper--viva Allison Kreft!
I can't wait to get my hands on these collections.  What's on your shopping list?  Happy scrapping!